Punch||The nation’s external reserves have dropped by $3.4bn in the last 12 weeks, according to the latest data from the Central Bank of Nigeria. Statistics on the CBN website showed the reserves crashed from $44.8bn on November 18 to $41.4bn on February 18, indicating an over seven per cent drop within the period.

According to the CBN data, the reserves fell from $44.8bn on November 18 to $43.6bn on December 31, before tumbling to $42.7bn on February 3. As of February 18, which showed the latest data on the CBN website, the reserves were $41.4bn. The reserves had in May last year peaked at $48bn, before plunging to $43bn in December.

Last year, in a bid to defend the naira from devaluation, the CBN sold about $26.6bn from the reserves to foreign exchange dealers at the foreign exchange auction market. In 2012, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, set a target of $50bn for the reserves. But the reserves closed the year with about $44bn, finishing $6bn below the target.

Bua group

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